The Best Places in America to Be in The Event of a Collapse

Pat Bellew
By Pat Bellew April 12, 2016 12:34

The Best Places in America to Be in The Event of a Collapse

The simple truth of the matter is that if there actually is a major crisis or disaster that leads to a prolonged societal collapse in the US, there really isn’t going to be a “Good Place” to be. So, what we are looking for is the highest level of least bad we can achieve, and with careful planning and attention to certain factors it is possible to achieve a situation which is not only “survivable” but actually livable in even the worst case scenario. Obviously, where you choose to live will have an impact on your preparedness plans, so always keep that in mind.

First, you want to pick a place that allows you to maintain a normal, mainstream life before life as we know it comes crashing down. A lot of us are of the mindset that something catastrophic is inevitable, and history teaches us that this is indeed the case. I am becoming increasingly convinced that this is a sooner rather than a later probability, however it could conceivably still be years away. So in the meantime, you want to have reasonably convenient access to things like employment, education, cultural and extracurricular activities for your kids, modern medical facilities, shopping, and all the trappings of modern life. It is not yet time to run off and live in a cave isolated from the world (If that is your mindset, it doesn’t make you “Wrong”. But it doesn’t make you a prepper either. It makes you a hermit!).

Related: What’s The Closest Natural Nuclear Bunker to Your Home?

Ozark_fall_foliage_underHowever, when the fall arrives, large population centers are going to be rather dangerous on a number of levels. So it is wise to remove yourself from large cities. My suggestion in order to be able to have the best of both worlds is to choose a location in a rural setting between 70 and 100 miles from a small to mid-sized city. This distance allows you access to all the luxuries and conveniences, is within’ a manageable commuting distance if you are tied to a professional career, but it also provides a fairly substantial degree of insulation from the worst of the Urban Dangers that will crop up quickly once the balloon goes up.

You also want to choose an area where food is produced, and where you can start making food producing improvements to your property. In short, you want good soil and enough water to grow gardens and water live stock. You want an area where livestock is produced and sustained on natural grazing and not in feed lots. You also want to be absolutely certain that there is plenty of easily accessible water for your drinking, cooking, and sanitary needs. There are many isolated areas in deserts and high mountains, but there is a reason these places were never settled extensively. That reason is that it is hard to come up with enough water to grow things, and the climate in many cases is too extreme to live in comfortably year-round. In a prolonged survival situation, you don’t want to be dependent on cisterns and extremely deep wells, or on technology dependant delivery systems.

You will want to find an area where like-minded people live. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. Most rural areas still have core values of self sufficiency. They are also pockets of old school knowledge that has been lost in the larger world. In an area like this, if you have something to contribute it will be much easier to find a group to band together with for mutual defense and support when the time comes. You will also find that in such areas there is a strong gun culture, and you will neither stand out nor be the sole armed protector should the need arise, and you won’t be saddled with a bunch of suddenly armed newbies that don’t have a clue, country boys and girls know how to use their guns!

Another consideration is proximity to nuclear power plants, proximity to military installations, distance from potential targets in a nuclear attack, and things of this nature. As concerns the power plants, all I’m going to say is Fukushima. As to military installations, the concern is always martial law, confiscations, conscriptions and so on, all the FEMA camp nightmares we have envisioned and theorized about. I am not particularly concerned about nuclear war in the classic sense, and feel that EMP type weapons are a far more likely and devastating possibility, but terrorism is always a consideration and those guys are nuckin’ futs and very hard to anticipate, so being too close to potential targets detracts from an areas desirability.

Related: Do You Live in the Death Zone? US Nuclear Target Map.

So, where are the best places to be?

1. My personal favorite is the Ozarks region of Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. This region provides many areas that are about the right distance from cities, have a good water supply, strong rural and conservative traditions, agricultural activity in the form of farming and ranching, and a history of subsistence farming. I wound up in the Ozarks almost by mistake, but have found much to love about the region, and many positive attributes from a prepper’s perspective. There are a lot of preppers here, so finding likeminded folks to bond with is not difficult.

The Ozarks region
The Ozarks region, in green, is my top pick. Some of that is just personal preference, but there is much to commend the Ozarks from a prepper’s standpoint.

2. My second Choice is the Appalachian region with a strong preference for the Great Smoky Mountains of North and South Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. These regions offer up similar benefits to the Ozarks region, and offer up a lot of good choices to live a nice life today and weather the potential coming bad times. Again, be sure that a given location meets the other criteria, particularly the distance from major population centers. The portions of the Appalachians passing through the North East may be a less desirable idea due to proximity to many larger cities, but even here pockets of desirable location can be found.

The Appalachian region

The red areas are best, green and blue areas are pretty darn good, but I would steer clear of the yellow.

3. My Final top pick is the Cascade Mountains of Washington, Oregon, and California. Once again, there are plenty of spots in this region that meet the criteria. There are a lot of remnants of rural culture and heritage, and the climate is quite favorable for subsistence gardening. You have to be careful on the west coast though, there are large populations of liberals who won’t like your guns and have more of a dependence mentality than an independence mentality. If you are able to do so in advance, check out the attitudes and demeanor of local residents, if there is a core of “Old time Families” that is a plus, if there is a large population of relocated urban Californians, that is a big minus. If there is a large Hippy population, don’t write it off too quickly, many Hippy Types are pretty dialed in on the preparedness, self sufficiency, and Libertarian principals (It’s that old “don’t judge a book by its cover thing!).

The Cascade Mountains of Washington

My Final advice is to take a look at a precipitation map of the US. This will give you important clues to suitable locations. With adequate average rainfall, you need only look for oplaces that meet your other criteria to be fairly well assured that you have found as good a spot as any to weather the storm in a SHTF scenario.


All other criteria being met, the areas in greens and blues are your best bet in a SHTF scenario.

Related: H2O Dynamo – The Awesome Device That Turns Air into Fresh Water!

These are the best tips I can offer. Do you have another good option in mind?

Pick a spot and get prepared. BUT (all caps for a reason!), don’t let the prepping rule your life so that you are living out of fear! You can find a place that lets you live a normal, modern life but still allows you to be ready when things get really bad.

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Pat Bellew
By Pat Bellew April 12, 2016 12:34
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  1. Rick Fortune April 12, 14:53

    I suggest you evaluate your position in relation to urban areas adjacent. I worry, if you live or plan to hold up in an area that is in the 2 day walk from an urban area that may have suffered a disaster, fleeing on foot refugees will start to get hungry and thirsty the next morning, after fleeing. This puts you in extreme danger from looting and crime.

    Reply to this comment
    • Matt April 14, 01:50

      I totally agree with you Rick, I have been preaching this very idea for years now. My biggest worry in the event of a social or even government break down isn’t so much UN or government troops, but mostly the ill prepared masses who are desperate for anything, that’s what scares me most, at least in the beginning. Then, once things start to settle down a bit, assuming that it does, then it’s UN troops, military, etc… that worries me.

      Reply to this comment
      • MMG December 20, 01:23

        Fellas, A lot of great stuff! Let me say that if history teaches us anything, it is that the least effective and least to fear force since WW2, would be UN troops.

        Reply to this comment
  2. Sandy April 12, 16:33

    I agree with Rick. Stay far away from urban centers. The refugees will be overwhelming. You need a town big enough to have jobs and a good social life. A town near water and surrounded by wilderness and/or farmland. A town where the culture is friendly.

    Reply to this comment
    • Old prepper March 31, 03:50

      Sandy, can you give some examples? I would move to a town like that,,RIGHT NOW! lol

      Reply to this comment
      • TechQN April 25, 23:56

        Depends on what your looking for. I happen to be in the 3rd region she mentioned. In North CA (between Mt Shasta to the North and Mt Lassen to the East)….outside of the only semi city of Redding. Been here since 2001 and nothing has changed much in the 17 years. Lots of cattle ranchers, homesteaders, farmers etc in the outskirts of the city. Yes Redding has rich liberals who move from SF…but not many. The rural areas are mainly people who have land and work it…..plenty of water year round. lakes, creeks, hunting (heck I have to keep deer out of my gardens every year)…..but it does still have highways coming through. Its not perfect, in being away from all, but it suits my needs with well water, creek in backyard with AG rights, 3 phase power, solar power, land to grow crops and neighbors who are like minded. 15-20 miles out of the closest semi city of Redding….So it works for me.

        Reply to this comment
      • SemiSweet September 26, 18:21

        I live in a town that meets all those requirements. It’s roughly 100 miles to Memphis and nashville, next to the Tennessee River and Kentucky lake. Muscle shoals Alabama is also a good 2 hour ride. Murray Kentucky(border of western Kentucky and Tennessee), which is not BIG, but it is big enough to have a university is 60 miles away..
        Camden Tennessee. Land taxes are low, guns are permitted, have a business here that teaches gun safety courses. Hunting and fishing is big here, where the barges use the river it’s over 60ft deep. Long growing period, when it does snow or ice, it normally misses camden and hits Paris Tn and Kentucky. Last year, our ice and a bit of snow lasted 2 weeks and melted away. Since I’ve been home, 20Sept2018, I have not turned on my a/c. It’s 26Sept2018 now. The woodmills around here let you go in after hours and weeks to collect scrap wood. We take it home, cut it up, set it aside to season, and use it for heat. Wood heat is VERY BIG here. So is living in “Amish sheds”,size of a tiny house that has become so popular. Only big criminal element here is meth heads, and pill poppers, but that’s about anywhere now a days.

        Reply to this comment
  3. ann45harvey April 12, 16:44

    My choice is approx 5-10 miles out from a major city. there you’ll find supplies you can use but didn’t have the means to store but far enough that those without the means can’t venture out to. Also a small town area where there are school and office buildings to use as store out post and shelters that are brick. Also I’d look for the High ground. While a stream/river is preferred, it is not essential as it could be contaminated. Therefore,a place in the north where snow and rain can be captured, contained and filtered for consumption. Either way, a place that can be protected from outsiders who desire to do harm.

    Reply to this comment
    • Country Boy in MO February 22, 18:36

      “Approx 5-10miles out from a major city”.
      You will be over ran in half a day MAX!! A person walks at 3 miles an hour and can travel 20-25 miles a day on foot.
      Better rethink the distance.

      Reply to this comment
  4. left coast chuck April 12, 17:41

    I agree with the 2 previous posters, but think a little further is better. It is possible to walk 30 miles in 3 days, the time when “experts” tell us we run out of steam w/o water. I would look for a town not in close proximity to an interstate or heavily used secondary highway.

    Reply to this comment
  5. SG April 12, 17:53

    The areas mentioned may be good in theory, but remember there are important other threats such as
    proximity to Nuclear Power Plants, Volcanic Eruptions, and Earthquake Fault lines which can negate trust of survival in otherwise decent locations.

    Reply to this comment
    • sandy April 12, 19:11

      Ozarks? On the New Madrid fault and Nuc plant in Fulton. I don’t know if that’s a good idea…..

      Reply to this comment
      • Jason Laird April 12, 22:03

        The new Madrid Fault would have very little effect here and the Fulton plant is Hours away. I agree as a lifelong Ozark resident that this is the placer to survive

        Reply to this comment
      • Ron April 13, 12:36

        I live in the northwest corner of the Arkansas Ozarks and in the case of a New Madrid quake it may be the safest place. A sizable quake will cause massive flooding on most low lying areas cutting off access to any remaining resources of a city. Remember street gangs will destroy and burn as they move beyond the city so 2-3 miles is extremely risky. They will follow close proximity of major highways.

        Reply to this comment
      • dp March 31, 15:45

        The New Madrid runs through the central and eastern part of Arkansas. The Ozarks should be safe from any New Madrid activity up to and including a complete collapse.

        Reply to this comment
      • Gunner April 4, 16:36

        Actually most of the Ozarks lays outside the fault. Will they feel it? Probably, but it is not going to cause a major problem. Along the Mississippi River, for sure.

        Reply to this comment
      • wa2qcj April 4, 17:25

        The New Madrid fault, so geologists say, is long over due for a release. That is one area I would stay away from.
        One other point that needs to be mentioned. Vehicles. Find something that will run on alcohol. Either the older pre-computer vehicles, or newer multi-fuel vehicles. A diesel might be good, if vegetable oils are available. Making Bio-Diesel is an option. “Grow able” fuels would be a better option for the long run than reliance on Petro fuels. In the realm of prepping, stocking up on engine oil is not a bad idea either. For engine filters for air intake, get a K&N air filter. Keep it clean, find an alternative to the cleaner sold for them, and these filters will outlast you.

        Reply to this comment
    • BShackleton August 29, 17:35

      Nuclear power plant is a concern, but how often do we have earthquakes and volcanic eruptions?
      People are usually injured in earthquakes because of living in proximity of tall buildings especially the junk that is built in 3rd world or future US. Volcanic eruptions? Well I don’t think I’ll worry to much about,that.

      Reply to this comment
    • evone March 2, 16:34

      I know right? We all seem to forget about nuclear plants that when left unattended, will kill the rest of us if hunger and lack of water haven’t done the trick. Nuclear plants should be on top of our list as to how to prepare for that horrendous scenario and how it plays out:(

      Reply to this comment
  6. LR April 12, 20:41

    I would love a hard copy if you have one, if not then electronic is ok.

    Reply to this comment
  7. BillH April 13, 04:03

    I agree with the consensus that neither urban, close to urban, nor along a main road out of an urban area is acceptable. Apart from this one issue, I don’t agree much at all with either the author or many of the other comments made here.

    Water is primary. Water is life. You need heavy and essentially year-round rainfall (so that manual watering of your garden/grove will rarely be needed). You also need on your property, a virtually unlimited supply. A well, stream, or lake. The Pacific coastal areas suggested by the author do not fit at all because of the ongoing drought.

    My secondary criteria is a relatively warm climate. The alternative is a reduced growing season and a need for winter heating. All of the suggestions made by the author do not work well at all as they are in mountainous areas.

    Finally, both the local community and the state should be accepting of self-reliance. Otherwise, before, during, and after a SHTF event, you will be faced with not merely moochers, but self-righteous moochers backed by the force of law. In other words, a rural community in a largely rural state that votes conservative. This eliminates the Pacific coast states again.

    So, what remains? Basically, the far South, from very eastern Texas to Georgia/Florida, excluding higher elevations and, of course, areas close to cities.

    I like peninsular Florida as the climate is the most temperate of this region, giving 2 to 3 crops a year; and the flat land with a high water table means a shallow well with a simple hand pump works nearly everywhere.

    Reply to this comment
    • Goatlover April 13, 11:15

      Shhhhhh! You are giving away all of our secrets!!! I can grow crops here year round. We have Artesian wells for water needing no electricity to bring it to the surface. I won’t EVER freeze to death. The worst problem in Florida will be burying all the dead old folks who won’t last very long when Walgreens and CVS run out of their drugs…

      Reply to this comment
      • BillH April 13, 19:40

        Yup. I didn’t mention artesian wells as they are available through much of the state, but not quite universally. Besides, no one is going to believe that through much of the state you can have a well that doesn’t even require a pump. And because the state has never had industrial activity, the water is not contaminated.

        Nope, they won’t believe us. Let them go for Minnesota.

        Reply to this comment
        • dp March 31, 15:33

          I lived in Florida for 10 years and worked for the highway department. Florida has deep drainage wells that go right down to the aquifer. They have been polluting the aquifers with runoff from the streets for decades.

          Keep fooling yourself that the water is not polluted.

          As far as the artesian wells go, it depends on what the original source of the water is. Often this might come from a large body of water as far away as Georgia.

          Also, Florida is way over developed, so good luck finding a place 50+ miles from a population center, and the property is way overpriced. If you are going to live in Florida, I would recommend a sailboat large enough to live on when SHTF.

          Reply to this comment
        • FL Cracker April 23, 16:34

          S. Florida has suffered from seawater(salt) intrusion for years, the agricultural areas that have been sprayed, citrus etc., have also contaminated the water to a degree in those areas…Florida now has a population of over 20 million people. Although they do get 5 feet of rain every year their water supply has it’s problems, even though Central FL from the air it looks like it is all lakes. Using surface water will create a whole new treatment problem unless it’s for irrigation.

          Reply to this comment
      • C.D. April 24, 21:19

        “Poor dead old folks”??? 🙁 …That was a very sad image in my mind. I just lost both my Mom and Dad.

        Reply to this comment
    • leo April 13, 20:36

      Florida is way too over populated.

      Reply to this comment
    • Tiny April 14, 18:51

      Living here in South Louisiana in the country is ideal, we have bountiful water supplies (high groundwater levels) year round crops, and a lot of what my family eats we grow, raise, hunt……not to mention the swamp is a buffet to us!

      Reply to this comment
    • Pat April 20, 19:58

      Way too close to huge urban centers. The Peninsula is to narrow to provide any refuge from the coastal cities. Much of the available water is brackish, and the problem is becoming worse as the aquifers are pumped down. Florida is a really bad choice.

      Reply to this comment
    • Robert July 15, 21:15

      Well said BillH….from northern Alabama… 🙂

      Reply to this comment
    • oceandweller May 18, 23:46

      Pat, the panhandle isn’t too close to Urban centers, 3/4 of the population of Panama City, Destin etc are vacationers leaving an abundance of stuff if SHTF. There is also the amount of rain, ease of crop growth, local access to salt, brackish, and freshwater fisheries, etc. Mobile is overpopulated, so is South Louisiana. The Applichian region will be the worst place preppers think they are safe and are not because everybody will think, head for the hills. The populations of NYC, CHICAGO, DC, ATL, PITT, PHILI, INDI, LOUISVILLE, PHILI, ETC completely surround the area. Then you figure the average tank of gas runs out from each of those cities to around Knoxville TN, wouldn’t want to be anywhere near that mess. West of Nashville would be nice because nobody could reach that one a tank of gas. Huntsville is particularly nice, so is Elberta Alabama both have generations of farmers, tons of water, food, etc, in fact could support the entire area food wise, power, water, etc in the event of a collapse easily.

      Reply to this comment
    • Bog-Jumper February 20, 21:29

      BillH, there isn’t a drought in Oregon or Washington? I don’t even think the mountains of NorCal have any drought…

      Reply to this comment
    • Mitch July 16, 19:00

      I disagree. Florida is a terrible place to be. They have poor water management, drought, sea water rising and hurricanes. Southern Texas and Lousiana are no better. What a cluster it will be when the SHTF.

      Reply to this comment
  8. CapnRon April 13, 10:15

    The best place to be in America in the event of a collapse…………..Australia

    C y’all down under!

    Reply to this comment
  9. Marky44 April 13, 10:37

    I agree with BillH with water being extremely important. The mountains of the western states for me would be a bad choice due to the seismic activity and lack of water due to droughts. The Appalachian would be to dangerous due to the large populations of the big cities migrating to the west. The best place would be nortern Minnesota with all the water and low population density. The problem is, you better know what you are doing in that type of climate or freeze your pooper off. Those that do live in that area/environment are self reliant types. I live in FL and I can’t convince my wife to move to northern WI which is my first choice. Fl is doomed when the SHTF. It will be the first one to go. Good article.

    Reply to this comment
    • BillH April 13, 19:14

      Well, I agree that South Florida is absurd. Extremely urban, and boxed in on 3 sides. Those people will die in place or head north to the truck farms in the Lake Okeechobee area. The everglades, which is the remainder of South Florida, has little land above water. As for the rest of the state, the population is very dense in a thin line along the East Coast, in the Orlando area, and from the greater Tampa area south to the Everglades.

      But the bulk of the state is low population, including the gulf coast north of the Tampa area, and the entire interior other than Orlando. Endless small lakes throughout.

      So, how do you figure that “Fl is doomed when the SHTF. It will be the fist one to go.” ??

      Reply to this comment
      • Tara April 17, 19:53

        I agree, I do NOT think FL will be that bad. I live and prep here. There are bad spots just like you said, but I live in a very small town, rural community. I have a well, plentiful rainfall, and a year-round gardening capabilities. Like another commenter said, I NEVER have to worry about freezing to death. Many of my neighbors are armed, I know because I can hear them practicing. And out here you NEED a gun for the wild animals that still come out, (that can also be hunted or trapped in worse-case scenario) like wild boar, foxes, coyotes, opossum, raccon, alligators, etc. BTW, I have seen ALL of them on my property. I have lived here my entire life so I KNOW Florida. I can read the weather, I know my plants and animals. The only thing I would like that I can’t have here, is a basement/underground bunker. Once you start digging here, you hit water pretty fast!

        Reply to this comment
    • mstextiles April 27, 13:16

      Marky I can help you find property in upper WI. MI I know it well. I have found some great properties in western North Carolina that your wife might prefer. If you stay In FL head for Perry.

      Reply to this comment
    • PNW dweller November 7, 23:28

      I live in Rural PNW… plenty of water. Drought is in California…

      Reply to this comment
  10. Dread April 13, 14:35

    The Great Smokey Mountains do not range into South Carolina, They are primarily in Tennesee. The Blue Ridge Mountains do flow over both North and South Carolina.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Amy M. April 13, 21:43

    I live I the Appalachian mountains, minutes from state and national forests with plentiful water. However, shouldn’t I be concerned about oak ridge? There’s also a nuclear facility about an hour away in the other direction.

    Reply to this comment
  12. SavageSam April 15, 20:01

    Is studying where the Native Americans lived of any value? It seems to me they were the Original (O.P.) Preppers. What about Eskimos? They’ve lived through the harshest winters mother nature has. Man, I’m (BRAND NEW) new to this and it seems overwhelming! It seems the more I learn the more I find out how UNprepared I am and how much I DON’T know.

    Reply to this comment
    • BillH April 19, 00:25

      They lived the same places that we are most likely to live.Near bodies of water.

      Reply to this comment
    • Curious December 12, 23:55

      What about the Eskimios?

      Reply to this comment
      • Gman December 20, 15:23

        Eskimos aren’t any more prepared than most people. They have been feed the white man owes them and he should take care of all there needs. The old folks know how to survive and live off the land.The young have for the most part didn’t learn from the elders.Don’t get me wrong some have, but they are getting few and far between. Alaska is not the place to be in a survival situation. I lived there for 33 years and retired to the lower 48. Good luck.

        Reply to this comment
  13. Radar May 3, 10:05

    I think prepping and surviving can be done almost anywhere away from large, and small cities should/when the SHTF. I was born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains, and I know how to survive here. I have traveled the US and believe surviving can be done across the Country. I prefer the Appalachian Mountains because this is where I am from and I know the terrain, the animals, the weather conditions and so on. Just as those in Florida, Wisconsin, Oregon and the rest of the US know the areas they are from. I don’t think long distance moves are required to survive and thrive after the SHTF. Know you geographical region, the climate, the wildlife, the cities, and the nuclear, and military facilities closest to you and plan accordingly. Common sense will help you survive in any region.

    Reply to this comment
    • Robert July 15, 20:33

      Spot on Radar! There’s too much emphasis on bugging out…carrying only what is mobile. If you’re in the city you MUST do as Glenn (below) says…have a coordinated plan now. If in a reasonable size town, why leave? Close ranks with the town leadership and police…control your town. Secure it. Escort refugees through/around it. Augment the Police with volunteer security. Make neighborhood watch groups “neighborhood security forces”. Ensure the town secures a “town market” for the exchange of goods and services. etc. etc. In nation-wide crisis the importance of town Mayor’s and Police Chiefs is CRITICAL to success. Go to town meetings now and energize them to plan now.

      Reply to this comment
      • ladybugrules October 3, 20:21

        this sounds great until government confiscation starts.Our current Potus has recently signed into law that allows government to take and control everything

        Reply to this comment
        • Maggie October 6, 14:07

          That is my main concern as well.

          Reply to this comment
        • BKPawpaw May 15, 21:01

          Ladybugrules, the Executive Orders that can have the PTB taking everything have been around for DECADES!

          Check out EO’s from10,990 – 11,010.
          E.O. 11,002 Assigning emergency preparedness functions to the Postmaster General 1962-02-16.

          This is the one that causes “Going Postal”!
          This one puts the USPS in charge of ALL vehicles, ALL housing, ALL jobs, and ALL eating.

          When a USPS employee gets promoted to a Supervisory Position they must attend a training class where this is made known to them for the first time.

          Upon learning of the PERFIDY of the USPS Supervisors, some of them then attack those that KNEW and did NOT tell everyone!

          Reply to this comment
        • T-Bone July 19, 02:10

          What law is this? Do you have a link?

          Reply to this comment
    • oceandweller May 18, 23:50

      The main problem with the smokies is everybody thinks of that when they think of camping out and food/heading for the hills. The winters there can be quite cold and hard to grow. That and I figure 1/2 of the countries population is within 5-7 hours of the area which pretty much puts them at an empty tank of gas in SHTF, Knoxville could well see 15 million people within a week.

      Reply to this comment
  14. arkansascajun May 5, 21:23

    the ozarks ( formally called the midamerica survival region ) is the only option. the blueridge has dense populations to the east and hurricane threats.
    the cascades were a great choice until fukushima. it’s TOAST now.
    we bugged out to the ozarks in 1975. MAINE is still viable except for the severe climate.
    good luck ya’ll

    Reply to this comment
  15. jodyel May 31, 17:39

    What about Texas? Was thinking of putting a small cabin on a couple of acres in East Texas.

    Good idea?

    Reply to this comment
    • Janette August 31, 05:01

      I am staying in Texas !!! Far south west !!! Fewer people. Weather is nice here in the mountains,(yes in Texas we have mountains) Collect rain water and shallow well.We will be fine.

      Reply to this comment
    • oceandweller May 18, 23:55

      Loved east texas didn’t like it for prepping for quite a few reasons. The droughts can be quite bad, went through the 2010 drought that was killing full grown trees in ETX, also the cattle had to have feed shipped in from out of state. Then you have Houston and Dallas metro areas that hover around 5 million. Then there will be a mass border influx from Mexico. Most Texans can’t grow their own food so having cattle will put a mark on your back. Every place in Texas is an easy commute from interstate from major metro, Texarkana area would be great if it weren’t 3 hours from Dallas. You should look into Alexandria lousiana or Monroe, both are 7 hours to gulf coast beaches, a little far from southern LA, too far from Houston and Dallas, both get rain, and have a lot of lakes in the area.

      Reply to this comment
  16. Glenn June 1, 07:20

    If you plan to relocate you should already own the piece of property you plan to occupy before leaving home or have an ironclad agreement with the property owner. Alternatives may be public camp grounds or government owned land. Don’t expect to just set up shop and claim squatters rights on somebody else’s property.

    Reply to this comment
    • Robert July 15, 20:26

      Spot on glenn!

      Reply to this comment
    • Old prepper March 31, 03:34

      Glenn, this is an old post, but I was thinking. We should follow the law, when SHTF? IT IS ABOUT SURVIVAL, Not setting up shop to stay there, forever. How would you know, who owes anything? Prove it. Records may be destroyed.
      And, who cares? SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST. 3-30-2017
      Government land, the very land that GOVERNMENT, would not want us, on? I SAY, it will be obama who does evil.

      Reply to this comment
  17. Muscoe July 15, 15:50

    When something major happens where do you think all the “refuges” will be heading? Yep, the same places you have mentioned. They may be lazy but they aren’t stupid! They know where all the “goodies” will be. You want a place where the living is uncomfortable for part of the year, and survival is difficult but manageable.

    Reply to this comment
  18. Robert July 15, 20:24

    Interesting comments about bugging out of the cities. I agree that the cities are the last place you want to be in a regional-to-nation-wide crisis. However, if you haven’t already coordinated with like-minded family/friends just what is your plan? I advise town leaderships to immediately set up ways to direct/escort refugees through and around their towns. You should not plan to locate somewhere on the fly…you’ll likely end up in a refugee camp or shot when squatting on someone’s property. Plan ahead!

    Reply to this comment
  19. Mama Bear August 29, 21:18

    I live in Washington State near a town backed up against the Cascade mountains. The map above showing the different volcanoes is inadequate. There are SO MANY unmarked volcanoes up here it’s not funny! I just recently learned there are hot springs close by to Snoqualmie Pass (midway between Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier) and since then doing research on Google maps I’ve spotted several unmarked (though some are marked) smaller volcanoes. BTW, hot springs are fed by lava flows close to the surface. So if volcanoes freak you out, I wouldn’t suggest moving to the Cascades. One thing not covered in this article are natural disasters which seem to be coming in spades recently across the nation. Wherever you are it would be a good idea to be prepared for whatever sort of disaster your area is prone to. For instance, recently the folks in Louisianna would have done well to have a small boat available to them. Folks in tornado country should have water, leather gloves and tools to dig themselves and their neighbors out along with a “go to” place to get out of harm’s way when a tornado is bearing down. We here in earthquake/volcano country need leather gloves, face masks, water, tents (for when our houses collapse), and other items for long term survival. Frankly with the geological upheaval I am more concerned about that than the other scenarios.

    Reply to this comment
  20. Dflemin October 4, 00:08

    What do you think about Corpus Christi, TX on the Gulf Coast? It is a medium size city and the weather is wonderful. It isn’t on the way to a big city like Houston.

    Reply to this comment
    • oceandweller May 19, 00:04

      I think Corpus is great if you have plans to leave Corpus via boat. You could always jump to central America pretty easily, like Belize without much effort, or hop over to the Fl panhandle in the event things got bad in the west. Lot of options for jumping off points from Corpus and most people are not going to be thinking of heading to the beach, granted again your pretty close to the Houston, Austin, Dallas area and the border hence my 30 foot sailboat with diesel recommendation and learning to sail NOW.

      Reply to this comment
  21. FullDraw October 7, 19:52

    So I’ve read the article and skimmed though the comments and have one thing to say that was totally missed……”the American Redoubt”. I grew up in Chicago, moved to and lived in Texas for over 15 years and when the SHTF for me and my family personally, I spent almost 2 years researching my move before leaving Texas and settling in the Redoubt. The part of the American Redoubt that I moved two not only meets or exceeds all the requirements in the article, it has the highest concentration of Prepared minded people I’ve seen throughout my business travels over the last 30+ years….and believe me when I say that like BHO, “I’ve been to 57 states with just 3 left to go” 🙂 . So I’d ask the author if the American Redoubt was considered and if so it should be reconsidered. Lastly, since moving here in the last year and a half, the local and state politicians have been moving legislation that makes this area even more favorable…not less to rugged individualists yet there is a large and growing community and network of like minded people that give of their time to educate and train others to see to it we are safe on the day, month and year after.

    Happy prep’ing everyone!

    Reply to this comment
    • timmytrucker December 14, 01:49

      what is the AMERICAN REDOUBT? never heard of it.

      Reply to this comment
      • oceandweller May 19, 00:07

        Great place where I would be if it wasn’t so far from family, friends, my fishing, the ocean, and a little too cold for my taste, Idaho. Everybody from socal and san fran will storm Oregon and Washingtons seaboard via interstate.

        Reply to this comment
  22. Lucy November 25, 19:26

    Wow, what a thought provoking article! Entertaining, along with the ideas, too. Question: When you all talk about a “small” or “moderate” sized town, what size does that mean? Not New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, for sure, but are we talking 20,000? Or 500?

    Reply to this comment
  23. Prepared December 1, 04:31

    I agree with a fellow above, the Ozarks are the safest for every reason. I also agree the Smokey Mnts are too close to high population centers. The Cascades have 7 dormant or active volcanoes and are right next to Cascadia Fault which is stuck right now and expected to devastate any moment. The scientists and prophets have warned 9.0 to 9.2 which is at a level where rocks liquefy. The tsunami will wipe out 100% of everything west of I-5 and that means the mountain areas east of there will have pretty horrible devastation. You might also, in your look for a “safe” area, look at the US Navy map for the New Madrid Fault. Choose Wisely.

    Reply to this comment
    • Homesteader December 15, 01:39

      You just have to know where to go in Appalachia to get away from so many people. Most want to be around places like Gatlinburg or Asheville. But back in the hills and hollars, you’ll find a lot of like-minded folk when it comes to being self-sufficient. Some places are not that easy to get to if you don’t know the area. I think I’m in a pretty good location if/when things go south.

      Reply to this comment
    • Maineapple February 25, 18:32

      How many miles inland do you think the tsunami would extend? I am in Maine so am wondering how far inland such a tsunami may reach. Thanks.

      Reply to this comment
  24. Anonymous December 19, 17:57

    If in fact S really does HTF here, 99% of us will likely be sent to concentration camps or offed by secret agencies of some form or another. If you do “own” land you will relinquish it to the state or agency that really does “own” it (ie. the same people you pay land taxes to). When and if you’re able to return to it, it may be burned to the ground or doused with chemical agents rendering it useless for growing things or producing sustenance for a time. At this time, everyone will be on the move and the mightier your caravan, the better off you’ll be. Setting up camp overnight to rest will probably be the longest period of time that you’ll be in one spot. In my opinion, a pair of good hiking boots, prior knowledge of wild edibles and cleaning water, a backpack full of guns/ammo and a few other key survival supplies is all you’ll be able to gather before you leave “your” land. If/when you finally are able to return to “your” land you will find it in one of three modes; totally inhabitable, slightly habitable, or already inhabited by forces who don’t like Americans and are in need of slaves to re-build infrastructure.

    He who dies with the most land is, nonetheless, still dead.

    Reply to this comment
  25. Jan February 22, 17:22

    No one has mentioned proximity to military bases. Also, uranium is prevalent in much of the south east. NC, AR, SC, VA, MO. The Florida armpit is a major grenade factory. And, watch out for the pythons, feral pigs, and panthers in much of Florida.

    Reply to this comment
    • oceandweller May 19, 00:12

      Jan, feral pigs are a good thing if your hungry, we eat them quite a bit as they make pretty good bacon and decent pulled pork. Panthers are nearly non existent except for a few areas. Pythons are the same, invasive and the odds of you getting attacked by a python are 1/1000 of getting killed by lightning in FL. I am guessing you haven’t been out a lot hunting in the panhandle and if your hungry you can eat a panther, python, and certainly pigs ‘more reasons to live on the fl gulf coast an hour away from the coast.

      Reply to this comment
  26. Old prepper March 31, 03:46

    Gee, so many comments about the East coast area. No one talks about S.W. I live in the desert, but can drive to the mountains, where I know a spring is, from snow run off. I’ve already had my go bag, filled up, for many years. Every so often, I change out my canned goods, and some meds. I have everything I need in that bag, and some toilet paper! Then some mountain leaves would have to do.☺ This is meant, just for a few days.I also made a list of what I packed. I have can opener, knives, utensils, string, duct tape and more.My car is stocked with an old feather pillow and quilt. Urinal for female. All, I am saying is, I have thought about this a long time. I can shelter at home where all my food storage is/ water, or make a run for it. I make sure my gas tank is never lower, then ONE FOURTH of a tank. Oh, I am a woman, and determined to be self-sufficient, as much as I can and a senior. ☺ Right now making some hard tack. 3-30-2017

    Reply to this comment
    • Bog-Jumper February 20, 22:39

      Nice! What state are you in? And do you think droughts can ever happen where you live?

      Reply to this comment
    • imapreppertoo October 6, 03:27

      You can move here in the SW ozark area. I’m near a small town but well over an hour to any city. Elevation good. Water good. Fertile ground. Wildlife plenty. Cattle too. Nobody talking about the earth slowing and sea level rising because the centrifugal force will be less at equator and water will flood coastal areas. Shreveport and Houston near same elevation. They say gulf will be on AR LA state line. Miss river will be too wide. East of river will be worst place. Too many people.

      Reply to this comment
  27. Cd April 26, 03:35

    Stay out of the Ozarks, we have canabels.

    Reply to this comment
  28. Eddie September 16, 04:30

    Most of the comments raise better points than the article. As stated before if SHTF densely populated areas are a no go. But I grew up in the Poconos and think the Northern Appalachians is viable but too many large cities on the east coast within a days driving distance. Another down fall with the east is humidity and that breeds mosquitoes. Mosquitos carry disease. The Cascades have already active or over-due fault lines. Plus to the west you have rising shores and to the east you have the threat of the super volcano in Yellowstone.
    I chose Montana as my dooms day home because of the following reasons;
    1. Lack of port cities or even cities period. The cities here are what most call large towns. The closest port city is Seattle and in the event of a nuclear or biological attack the eastward winds on average, dip below Montana
    2. Small town mentality. Everyone brings something to the table but we all have the same goal of survival. Therefore we will barter before steal and those who will steal are known because everyone talks ( good or bad)
    3. It gets cold. People fear cold but the good thing about cold is that it gives you a clean slate. The cold kills disease ridden insects. They ground temp stays the same so I can retreat to the ground during the freeze.
    4. This is a zone three almost four vegetation. With some greenhouses in can grow zone 1,2&3 vegetables and fruits. If you’re down south you’ll need power to grow upper zone vegetation.
    5. Where I’m at it is sunny 85% of the year. Sun equals power. On days that aren’t sunny, we get a pretty good wind whipping through for turbines.
    6. My water is tested clean and my water table is only 15ft deep. Rocky soil that filters and I have multiple wells
    7. Yes we have wildfires but they can be mitigated. I have a sprinkler system that keeps the grass and trees immediately around my house well watered and green. Outside of that 30ft buffer I will be building a rock wall as a barrier. Beyond that I just have to keep my lawn maintained. Doesn’t have to be green but cut low when it starts drying out so that it doesn’t have much fuel.
    8. Wild life. A lot of rural areas have wildlife but Montana is perhaps one of the most visited places for game hunting and fishing.
    9. Weeds. On my property alone I have naturally growing weeds that have medicinal value. The Mullen plant can be made into a tea for respiratory health. I also have aloe( but who doesn’t). I have White Mans Foot all over my driveway which can be used as an anti inflammatory, antibiotics and a coagulant

    I personally believe that this location will last the longest in the majority of dooms day scenarios. Please feel free to convince me otherwise. Any downfalls this location has can be retrofitted to atleast protect my family and I.

    Another thing I like is that if I decide to build something, I don’t get questioned. The Zoning police aren’t visiting me to make sure my buildings are permitted.

    Reply to this comment
  29. Kiana December 27, 05:43

    I have returned to the US a few months ago after leaving my sustainable homestead in Central America due to uncooperative neighbors and crappy local government. I have purchased 40 acres in an intentional off-the-grid community in N. Central Nevada. This location goes against some of the criteria mentioned in the post. I am using my permaculture experience to microclimate my land and green the desert using swales. Additionally, using a green house vegetable/herbal medicine garden, water harvesting system, completely off the grid house, 120ft well, and chickens to be fully self sufficient. The location is above a good aquifer and far away from civilization. I guess my question is, if you create a self sufficient zone within the desert is it really that bad of a place to be? Isn’t it the last place anybody would want to go wandering around? I guess I’m confused why the high desert is always listed as such a terrible place to be in the event of an apocalyptic type situation. Am I missing something?

    Reply to this comment
  30. david December 29, 02:15

    What if your an apartment renter when SHTF. My own suggestion for my own question… would be to maybe purchase a small piece of acreage (the more I can purchase the better), and then whenever I could, put a camper on it, or a trailer. Then if SHTF…go there and build accordingly. ie; cabin,ect. My point is (or question)… could it be “wise” to go ahead and purchase land even if no living quarters are there yet? I’m posting this comment in the spirit of a poor person who is in beginning stages of prepping. Any other ideas? Is mine doable and wise?

    Reply to this comment
    • dp December 29, 02:36


      it depends on your situation. That is not actually a cop out because very situation is different. Do you have kids? Do you have a job that ties you to the city? Are you able to rough it?

      If you buy a sizable piece of property, then some companies will build on credit depending on your equity or ownership of the land. There are many people who get started by putting one of these prefabbed storage buildings on otherwise unimproved land.

      Getting you and your things out to the country AFTER SHTF is likely to be a major problem for you. Keeping other people from stealing your supplies with no one there to watch them, or just squatting on your land and needing to be driven off may be a major problem after SHTF.

      Living in an apartment, and having unprotected property in the country is probably the 2nd least workable plan right after living in an apartment, and having no where to go.

      Reply to this comment
  31. KDC July 12, 19:59

    The Cascade Range is not a good place to move to. It’s ready to explode as the “plates” are pushing against each other. I would stay clear of that area.

    Reply to this comment
  32. Kasara September 20, 15:14

    You really found a way to make this whole prseocs easier.

    Reply to this comment
  33. Rick October 5, 13:21

    Adirondack Park in NY.

    Reply to this comment
  34. KDC October 5, 14:55

    I would NOT suggest the Cascade region. This region is syzmatically unstable. In short, they are ready to explode.

    Reply to this comment
  35. Bill October 6, 01:22

    For all the advice on this cite, in mho the best is having friends you can trust. I have found that when you need to do something, or make something, somebody in the your group has done it or knows how to do it

    Reply to this comment
  36. Oldprep October 10, 04:23

    Read the article and all the following entries containing good information. But there are a few things not mentioned here that I think can be important.

    One is that you will be better off if your shelter uses a septic system, for your sewage, rather than sewer pipes to a sewage plant. A community sewage system relies on pumps and continual maintenance to keep operational. This means it will stop working soon after a meltdown, where a septic tank will probably continue for 10-20 years without maintenance. I prefer to have ours pumped every 10 years for the 2 of us, which is probably over kill. Not having to deal with your shelter’s sewage would be one less thing to have to deal with in a meltdown.

    Another concern would be Nuclear power plants. Since winds tend to blow more often from West to East, I would choose to have no nuclear power plants west of my shelter. Same could be said for most likely nuclear targets.

    Another concern should be fires, especially wild land or forest fires, depending on where you shelter is. I would expect that there would be no 911 or fire departments to come to the rescue. Whether a fire is started by lightening or set intentionally to burn you out, means you would be your first and last line of defense. But this does not have to be the end of your world.

    I’ve been studying forest/structure interface fires for many years. Skipping details to the bottom lines, there are no guarantees in fire situations. But we can talk in probabilities. Point one is that, statistically, 90% of the houses that burn are caused by blowing hot embers, not flame contact or radiated heat. This means that you can greatly improve your shelter’s survival by sealing off places embers can lodge. This includes your attic vents and crawl space vents. Calk or seal off any other holes or cracks in the exterior of your structure. Blow (or sweep) the tree debris off your roof and clean out your rain gutters. Even with a class A fire resistant roof, a gutter fire can work up under your roof at the eves. Do not stack fire wood or other combustibles next to your house where an ember could lodge. Remove dry grass, including wood chips in a flower bed, away from your house at least a few, to several feet. Even with fire resistant siding, an adjacent fire can work up underneath of it. I like pouring a concrete sidewalk, where possible, around the house to keep the combustibles away. Do not have shrubs or trees growing next to your house resulting in flame contact. From what I’ve learned, hot embers will just bounce off well maintained wood siding. Looking further out, clear your shelter’s surrounding space 20-50 feet out of combustible vegetation. The larger the combustible tree or other object, the further away it needs to be to keep its radiated heat from igniting your house.

    If a raging forest fire burns through your area, it will only be at your location from 1-10 minutes. There will be a lot of hot coals and minor fires left in its wake, but the main front and heat will be gone. So, if you’re up to it, and decide to stay and protect your house (which, statistically, greatly improves its chance of survival), than one plan might be to step inside when the front moves through. Before and after that time, one can be outside putting out small spot fires on or around your prepared house.

    This can all be done with no water! If you have water available, then it’s a whole new ball game. With a small amount of water, I would first soak my clothes from head to shoes and use it to apply toward small spot fires. Also, there is a chemical additive called Pyocool that greatly extends the water’s extinguishing ability. In its sealed container, it has a shelf life of 10-15 years. Very small quantities in water goes a long way. If you have water under pressure, the best defense is rain bird type sprinkles on your roof. Not so much to protect your class A fire resistant roof, but to go as high and far as possible into the surrounding trees and vegetation. The end result is a protected house surrounded with a green donut of vegetation. From my studies, this is about as close as one can get to 100% survival. This short You Tube video is one of many examples found on line.
    One also has to avoid inhaling smoke and carbon monoxide. Wearing head protection, like your chain saw helmet, might be a good start toward protection from falling tree debris.

    Reply to this comment
    • Auckland Escapee October 10, 07:17

      Oldprep, your offering was indeed illuminating, most preppers think about bugging out to a mountain forest hideaway like they have done on many public holidays or long weekends, seldom do they think about the hazards of fire. A truly great addition to the info that we all need.

      Reply to this comment
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